July 25, 2011

FYI, Process got booted off G+ and I'm on the fence about it as a networking tool.

Process's G+ account was deleted a few days ago due to some mass action deleting going on. I have appealed. There was no objectionable content and I had just begun to post some links. I was hoping G+ would enable the blog to gain exposure and turn into forum for discussion. 

Supposedly they're going to roll out a business account thing, but the blog is not a business. If it is, then I need to revamp my mission statement. " art. documentation. details.
 studio. painting. life. copious amounts of cash and fame." But in all honesty, I'm more concerned about my landscapes and representational work, and my alleged rejection of abstract painting. I'm locking up all tubes of green today and barring contact between yellow and blue. 

July 24, 2011


Today as I was painting the crepe myrtle by my bedroom window, I thought, OMGWTF am I doing?!!!!! I've lost my mind. It's over.

Meanwhile, being the true flagship of our enterprise, M. Thackston Addie, visionary, keeps his nose to the grindstone with three new works as seen here, here, and here.

July 23, 2011

I Have a Sad Story to Tell You

I was in the studio spray painting something today. I had the exhaust fan on. I didn't spray that much. Maybe 5 minutes, maybe seven. After spraying, I saw that I had neglected to hook my motorcycle up to it's trickle charger. As I was connecting the charging system, I heard a flapping sound, but it didn't quite register until I realized it was a large flapping sound, like one Mothra might make. I backed away from the bike and noticed on the other side of the bike there was a butterfly or killer moth on the ground unsuccessfully trying to take flight. His wing span was maybe about 4 inches. It's hard to say because rigor mortise has now set in and I can't straighten him out. I picked him up while he was trying to get off the ground and felt guilty, wondering if the fumes had crippled him. I opened the garage door and set him in the driveway. He was trying harder to take flight, furiously flapping, making some small take-offs, but mostly just trying really hard to leave the ground, over and over. I have tried to identify him to no avail. In a rare instance of not having my iPhone with me, I left him so that I could retrieve my phone and take his picture. When I returned, he was dead. Exhausted, I suppose.

The more I think about it, the more I don't think I killed him with the fumes. For one thing, he was already on the floor. I think he was too heavy to fly. The fumes may have done him in, but I don't think so. He still had his caterpillar body and was top heavy. By the time rigor mortise set in, he tilted down head first, like a heavy statue that toppled down. He's in my studio now. It was hard to watch him be so desperate for flight. I thought he was going to make it. I really did.
Just expired.

Totally top-heavy and stiff a few minutes later. 

Today I packed paintings for shipping them to the Asynchronous Salon show in Indianapolis.  I ate too much sugary stuff because I had to bribe myself. Packing works is NOT that big of a deal. I don't know why I perceive it to be one of the most loathed tasks of my job. It's not. No matter, I get fidgety and anxious and have to have treats and coffee nearby. It went smoothly of course, but I took breaks.

I tried to paint. I made several futile attempts. I tried painting the dog, and I tried painting the butterfly. Hashtag Fail on both accounts. Distracted. Stuck.

July 21, 2011

Groups and Movements.

I came across the Stuckists a few years ago after getting an email from Detroit Mona for an exhibit called Unplugged @ Mona featuring Stella Vine.* Detroit appeared on my radar because I was in a small show in Detroit that same year. I checked out her work, saw her connection to the Stuckists and became interested in doing more research about them. I'm easily excitable. I'm not a group person, but every now and then I long to join an art group. I've been this way all my life. As a child, Christian bookstores had the same effect on me.

At the time most of my paintings were predominately abstract. What little figurative work I did was on the down low, and mostly little drawings. I drew a lot in 2005 and 2006. I just looked at my image folder. I scanned over 348 drawings from those two years. 2007 was a slow year for drawing but I did 72 paintings. I've since destroyed a lot of the drawings and a few paintings before moving. Moving under duress will do that. I left my 12-pound weights back there too, because I started freaking out about how much moving all my cargo was going to cost. Twenty-four pounds was the tipping point for me that day.

Mary Addison Hackett (me)
The Norwhal, Ogden Nash and The Parthenon, 2005,
ink on vellum

Mary Addison Hackett (me)
Untitled, 2005
 ink on vellum

What little figurative work I did was on the down low:
Mary Addison Hackett (me)
Double Portrait Self-Portrait, 2006
graphite on found stationery (modified for Internet use.)

Every now and then a figurative painting would occur.
Mary Addison Hackett
"Balloon Man," 2006 (?)
 acrylic on canvas
20" x 16"
I forgot about the Stuckists for awhile and then the other day I met Susan Constance online through a conversation with Steven LaRose and discovered she had been a Stuckist at one point. I got all excited again.

As of late, I'm pretty much 20 for 20 with their manifesto, and over the last few years have been drifting over to the whole idea of Remodernism, though I personally wasn't calling it anything. The further away from the centrifuge, the more I have in common. I'm considering starting a Nashville group. The only requirement is a founder. Perfect.

I was at the Train Car Stdio early this morning. I needed to finish my left eye.
Mary Addison Hackett
"Self-Portrait with Two Selves," 2011
oil on canvas
20 x 16 in.

* Stella Vine is an ex Stuckist.  According to wikipedia:
In June 2000, Stella Vine went to a talk given by Childish and Thomson on Stuckism and Remodernism in London.[49] At the end of May 2001, she exhibited some of her paintings publicly for the first time in the Vote Stuckist show in Brixton, and formed The Westminster Stuckists group.[48] On 4 June, she took part in a Stuckist demonstration in Trafalgar Square.[49][50] By 10 July, she renamed her group The Unstuckists.[51] In mid-August, Thomson and Vine were married.[52] A work by her was shown in the Stuckist show in Paris, which ended in mid-November, by which time she had rejected the Stuckists,[48] and the marriage had ended.

Long live short attention spans. 

July 20, 2011

I mourn the loss of the printed word.

There are no bookstores here in town. None. Okay, there's one, "Books a Million" or something, and they don't carry art magazines. There are a few used bookstores, but unless I buy an iPad or do something radical like subscribe, there's a good chance I'll go through the rest of my life never seeing another art magazine unless I plan a vacation around visiting a city with a bookstore.

I live in the capital of Tennessee. One bookstore. I could cook organic meals, parent toddlers and get the latest on Southern fashion and guns, but it's been a year and I'm worried I'll never read an intelligent article about art in print again. When I called to see if Books A Million carried Flash Art, they asked if it was a comic book. I weep. Gently, I weep.

Today I worked on the computer doing stuff I dread doing, but do anyway since it gives me a sense of purpose now that I can't thumb through picture magazines. Plus occasionally I think about a jailbreak. It's been awhile since I've actively pursued a gallery and I'm also looking for grants.

Yesterday was a studio day. I went to the train car studio, worked listlessly on four paintings in the sweltering heat, and discovered 4 jars of capped and sealed acrylics had not survived the summer.  They were the consistency of dried mud. I systematically went through the rest of the jars and discovered they had thickened but were usable. A few showed signs of pigment separating from binder. I stirred those, and think they'll be okay. Last summer the acrylics were stored in the home studio, aka the garage, Still not climate controlled, but not a metal boxcar either. I moved them to a dark corner.

I discovered Henry O. Tanner's online exhibit at the Smithsonian the other day. He's a mystical painter. 

And this is a fingerprint of mine I found on a painting after shooting my work. It's not that obvious in real life. I only noticed it when adjusting the contrast and looking at it blown way up. 

The nature thing still freaks me out with amazement. He/she was outside my bedroom room window.

And a catalog arrived in the mail. 2008 seems so long ago. 

July 16, 2011

Studio Envy, Landscape and Flow.

I forgot how exactly I came across Michael J. Abrams work, but artists, galleries and posts about the Hudson Valley have been filtering into my life lately, particularly since my trip to NY last spring. My next trip to NY will include a trip the the Hudson Valley.  I love this image of his studio and the statement about his work from Emily Amy Gallery's website. It's currently my screen saver. I figure if I look at it every day, my living room will miraculously turn into THE working studio, though I still have a couple of hurdles to overcome.

I'm not complaining about lack of space or formidable studio conditions. Somehow it's working for me. If I had a posh studio, maybe I'd sit around and eat lemon tarts from Trader Joe's all day, so maybe unconventional has been good. I think about that. Like seriously, what if the only thing I had to do was paint? Would it work? What would drive me if I had nothing to maintain?

Based upon the recent review about Leon Kossoff's cherry tree paintings and Michael Abram's landscapes of the Hudson Valley, I think I'm seeing a fantasy group exhibition develop. There's a shared sensibility having to do with Place, a specific or particular place, as opposed to a scene. And since it's a fantasy exhibition, I'll be curating myself into it. I've known people to hobnob for worse.

July 15, 2011

Desk Jockey

I managed to haul my bag of tricks over to the studio last night and patiently document the new work. Today I am uploading and editing via Aperture and Photoshop. I haven't had a chance to look at all the images, but I am prepared to have to reshoot if there's a problem. I've had my light kit for 25 years. Technically I should know what I'm doing. It's just not my favorite thing to do. Allow me to whine. The professional rates here in town are no where near competitive enough to consider farming this task out. I could probably get married and have my entire wedding shot for the price of shooting a few artworks here. I treated myself to chocolate moose from The Turnip Truck as a perk. If I need to reshoot, I'll treat myself again. 

File under Games I Play to Get Loathsome Work Done.

July 12, 2011

Yard work is magic.

I'm filling the cavity with Great Stuff and then painting it with Montana Spray paints to match the tree. It's rather obscene looking at this stage with this thing oozing out. I need to buy a couple more cans of Great Stuff and do the process again until I fill the cavity. It's home improvement, not art, and it's tucked away in nowheresville, not visible to anyone really, but I still want to do a nice job. Maybe I'll add googly eyes to it. I suspect insects have been nesting in there. Insects of the prehistoric, hard-shelled, diemuthrfckrdie-and-stay-out-of-my-home variety. 

This weekend, I worked on paintings at the home studio in-between some yard work. I stayed away from the train car studio all weekend. Yesterday I was at Home Depot and ran into one of the guys responsible for giving me the residency. I was buying gutter guards after having my gutters cleaned. I heard a voice behind me at the check-out jokingly say, "You should be painting." I tuned around and jokingly said, "This is what I do in my spare time." Neither one of us was really joking. My solo show in conjunction with the residency is in mid-October. I should be painting a lot. 

Today though, I was once again a genius in the studio. First off, I walked in and was greeted by 3 paintings I had forgotten I finished last week. I love when that happens. It's like having friendly amnesia. They need a bit more work, but more or less they're done. I then took a large canvas that was directionless into an unexpected direction. I'm liking it and it's surprising to me so I'm not questioning it. I also started another self-portrait which by end of day was coming along nicely. Just a few more things needed but the paint needed to dry a bit before I could go in again. A full and respectable day at work, and another day of grace and ease. When I left the house this morning I was anxious about stuff in general, but I was okay after a few minutes at work in the studio. Yard work is magic. 

July 10, 2011

“Everyone has talent at twenty-five,” said Degas. “The trick is to have it at fifty.”

Better late than never in discovering a good review.

Late Spring: Leon Kossoff at Mitchell-Innes & Nash via Art Critical. Franklin Einspruch reviews the octogenarian British painter's recent show.
Leon Kossoff, Cherry Tree, Early January, 2004. Oil on board, 56 x 48-1/4 inches. Courtesy of Mitchell-Innes & Nash
May 5 to June 18, 2011
534 West 26th Street, between 10th and 11th avenues
New York City, 212 744 7400

I'm sorry to say I was within walking distance of this show and yet missed it while visiting NYC back  in May. Actually, I'm crushed. I identify with this on so many levels. 
More images via the gallery site.   

July 08, 2011

Today, I am sick of green paint.

Awkward day in the studio. I chopped off about 3-6 inches of hair this morning.  Gauging how the rest of the day went, I suspect my painting powers were stored in my tresses. I'm also sick of green paint. It was inevitable. I need to use color again. Dammit. I thought I was on a nature roll. I have to fill a tree cavity. Dammit again. Home Depot owns me.

July 07, 2011

Field Trip

Super great art day today in Nashville. Met a friend for coffee and some bastardized version of biscuits and gravy that was so very wrong. Biscuits and Gravy are perfect as is. Two components. One conjunction. The end. I don't care if some backwoods troglodyte subculture slathers eggs and cheese on a perfectly respectable plate of biscuits and gravy, it's still wrong. What's the point? I know wtf cheese tastes like. Repent, Sky Blue Cafe, repent. I muddled my way through it, but I should have ordered the granola. We are gathered here today because a perfectly good plate of B&G died for a wheel of cheese. A moment of silence please.

After which we went to The Carl Van Vechten Gallery at Fisk and received a generously informative personal tour of the Stieglitz collection. I'm a sucker for modernist watercolors, and in addition to the Marins, there's a beautiful Grosz, which you may or may not remember me gushing over a Grosz on my last trip to NYC. Later back at my studio while thumbing through the essay, An art that eats its own head by Barry Schwabsky, I came across Greenberg's: ‘Whereas one tends to see what is in an Old Master before one sees the picture itself, one sees a Modernist picture as a picture first,' and realized that whenever I see a Grosz watercolor, I am seduced into looking at how it's painted before I look at what it's about.

(The gallery does not allow pics for various reasons, but the Nashville Arts link below includes few pieces as part of their article. )
For more about the Stieglitz collection:
And a host of links on the fate and controversy surrounding the collection via Lee Rosenbaum at Art Journal. 
Supposedly a decision will be reached this summer.

Had a decent day in the studio. Coffee break at 3 (late) with a coffee from the shop across the street. The kid at the counter asks me what I'm painting today, which caught me off guard, because although I stop in there at least once a week, looking totally disheveled in my grungy paint clothes, I've never been asked by anyone "what I'm painting today"- as if I would be painting something I could call by name on a particular day. It's a funny question, or so I thought.  The funny part is that it's not really that funny anymore because I realized that I could tell him exactly what I was painting today: I was painting the view outside my studio window. When he didn't say anything, I thought I needed to clarify that I was a painter of the artist variety rather than the house painting variety, because truly I've lost count of how many times people still need further distinction when they ask me what I do and I say, "I'm a painter," so I explained I had a studio across the street and that I was painting the view outside my studio window. He said yes he knew I was a painter and that he was a painter too and he would love to stop by sometime, so I said sure. Then I asked if his art was up in the coffee shop, because what coffee shop would be complete without paintings and he said he had had just taken the one down that had been hanging over the sugar and creamer station and installed it at Fido, another coffee shop, as part of a solo show. I was genuinely excited and simultaneously relived because I liked the painting above the cream and sugar station. He should jack the prices up and get a show at a gallery around here. 

July 04, 2011

Just when I think I'm tapped out: my new life as a dropout.

Mary Addison Hackett,  The Battle of Lost Hope, 2011
oil on linen
7 x 5 inches

Caveat: okay, maybe I'm not really a dropout and I once read that anyone outside of NYC was an outsider artist, but I struggle a lot. I've had people- other artists and people of art world stature, tell me maybe I shouldn't struggle. They usually say this to me when they happen upon one of my watercolors or a painting which I've tucked away in the studio or unceremoniously hung in my bathroom—one which I've dismissed simply because it came to me with great ease, and therefore I did not trust it. Struggle has been my main MO for years. To a certain extent I still believe in struggle-mainly because it makes me feel good, like I've earned a good painting. Ironically, it's the abstract paintings I struggle with- not because I'm confused, befuddled, or can't paint my way out of a paper bag, but because I like making them difficult. I find it engaging. Correction: I used to find it engaging. Lately though, I sense I am past struggling for the sake of struggling. A couple of banner days in the studio interspersed with a couple of days of getting my ass kicked by ennui and I am now a convert to the No Struggle No Fear way of being. I worked in the home studio over the holiday weekend. It was a holiday after all, so work encompassed lollygagging, reading, and watching a doc on the Reverend Albert Wagner on Netflicks. I also rearranged the furniture in the living room, in an effort to will it into being THE studio, but in the end, I moved everything back like it was and continued drifting in and out of the the den and the dining room studios all weekend. Yesterday, for no apparent reason, a sailboat appeared in my painting. I was suspicious of course, because I had not planned on placing a sailboat in a painting and for the life of me would not have considered painting a sailboat, but there it was, a sailboat on a deep blue ocean. Why, it almost looked like a maritime painter had painted it. There was something pleasant, dignified, and sweet about it. It would have looked amazing in an upper-crusted little boy's room, but I am not a maritime painter, and I sold my kayak earlier this month. I let the sailboat sit in the prussian blue water overnight. This morning after returning from a 1.5 hour hike at the park, I turned the deep blue ocean into murky algae. It now fit into my oeuvre of a pool paintings. Not a huge leap and I felt good for performing that kind of logistical magic, but then I was faced with the Now What? The thing about abstract painting is that there is no Now What? You walk in the studio and paint and eventually the painting reveals itself. Eventually. Since I am now working on images from my surroundings and my somewhat visionary paintings, I encounter moments of Now What?  It's because I am being judicious. Visionaries need to channel energy. For a split moment I thought maybe it's all over. For real this time. I am tapped out. There is nothing left to paint. I will never have another idea. I will have to get a real job, one with a ID badge and a timecard. I will think back on the first part of my life with fondness, and then I will die. But then with grace and ease, I picked up my paintbrush and two new paintings presented themselves to me and I got to keep "painter," rather than "loafer" or "ne'er-do-well," as my job title for another day. Sometimes it's hard to be here because after being an urban dweller for so long, I miss the inherent vitality that comes with big city living, but other times, nay, most of the time, I admit that I secretly like being a dropout and that being a dropout is okay. I've picked a great place to live the life of a dropout: an enclave within a suburban enclave in the South. As a recent dropout, I think I'm doing my best work, which can be a little unsettling if I think I'm only one who has access to this info, but on the other hand, I feel good about trusting myself now. Being a dropout isn't about being trendy, and I'm okay with that too. I've arrived at a place that interests me without struggling about it too much. Grace and ease. Plus I have a confession: I had an aha moment the day I clicked on the link AThousandLivingPainters. As I scrolled through the painters, some familiar, some not, I thought, oh my God, (a) I'm in painting link heaven, (b) but it all looks the same (c) am I contributing anything new to this dialogue? and (d) if not, then why am I still doing it?  Ok, perhaps I was contributing to the dialogue of abstraction, and maybe I still can, but if I had been in a funhouse, I would have run screaming into a mirror trying to get out. Which is exactly what I did. Not literally of course, but metaphorically.